Monday, August 18, 2014

Turning 28 years old…

Today I turn 28 years old. For some reason this one is a hard one for me. I am in my “late 20’s” now and it feels strange to say that. Is there more that I should have accomplished by now? Am I doing an okay job at being an “adult”? These are the things I’ve been thinking about as this day got closer and closer.

But I found the answer in creating this list… my list of 27 things I learned at 27. I’ve done this every year since I was 17. That’s a decade of lessons learned and chronicled. You can see a few of my other lists here.

I’m glad again for the chance to stop and look back on the past year and pull all the truths out of the trials. To see that I did grow and learn and change and become a better person and step into being the adult version of myself, even though it feels strange.

So here is my list for this year…

27ThingsILearnedAt27

  1. My favorite part of driving a bright yellow VW Bug is everyone else who sees it and smiles (or gives their friend a “slug-bug”).
  2. I am blessed to be part of a fabulous team of talented people at NICA and to have the chance to learn from them as we tackle projects and work together.
  3. I am still a poet and an artist.
  4. Jehovah always provides exactly what we need. I’ll never forget my hands shaking so badly as I tried to unwrap my new Bible and the amazing 3 days we spent at the International Convention in Seattle. #greyisthenewblack
  5. Clothes that fit right can make you feel how you’ve always wanted to feel, and CAbi does that so well.
  6. Sometimes the answer is to put a little purple in your hair.
  7. Sharing my home with my in-laws has been the biggest test I’ve ever faced, but it taught me endurance and patience and kindness.
  8. You should never binge eat Red Vines. Or Cool Ranch Doritos for that matter…
  9. Mobile offices are the best kind of offices.
  10. Life as a Platinum Blonde is as good as I hoped it would be.
  11. Brush scripting is a skill I learned that I will continue to use and develop because it brings me joy.
  12. Cabbage steaks are too delicious to describe. You’ll just have to try them for yourself.
  13. I love stovetop popcorn with lots of butter and salt!
  14. I can do 200 squats in one day! And it does wonders for my backside.
  15. My husband expresses his love for me by supporting my dreams and realized that to keep growing I need new equipment. I love my new camera so much! 
  16. The #bestjobever includes driving home with the top down after a satisfying day of work.
  17. A house full of music is my favorite kind of house.
  18. Boats make the best hotels.
  19. Death is a harsh reality of life.
  20. I love taking pictures of couples in love; especially those celebrating anniversaries.
  21. Camel rides are just about as fun as elephant rides.
  22. #transformationtuesday posts are so helpful to keep our weightloss journey in perspective and encourage us to keep going.
  23. Home is where Chris is.
  24. Glad to be an official “iPhone-ographer” with the purchase of my very first iPhone this year…it has become my main camera for capturing everyday life.
  25. Finding a tribe of like-minded people can be inspiring and motivational.
  26. The best thing is to do the kind thing.

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Sunday, August 17, 2014

BOOKSHELF

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This is one of the bookshelves that I have in my office. It houses my complete Nancy Drew book collection. I even have a first printing edition of “The Hidden Window Mystery.” I have loved these books since I was a little girl. They were a big part of my childhood and something I will always cherish.

Along with my books, this shelf hold a bit of my other 2 collections: cameras and elephants. The bookends Chris got me as a wedding gift, and he found me the Polaroid camera too. I love my little treasures.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

LOOKING DOWN

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This is my favorite little face to look down on. My mini schnauzer Gibson. He is such a bright spot in my days. I love when Chris leaves for the day and Gibson cuddles in bed with me. I enjoy doing our morning stretches together and slowly waking up. I talk to him while I’m making breakfast and share little bits of food with him while I cook. He loves tomatoes and lettuce and olives, and cucumber skin more than the cucumber itself. I like how excited he is to spend the day with me, whether we’re working from the couch or headed somewhere in the car. I love when he asks to go for a walk and decides he’s ready for his supper. It means so much to me when he greets me at the door if I’ve been away like I’m the most important thing in the world to him. I love looking into his eyes and rubbing his belly and sharing my life with him. He’s one of the best things in my life right now. My little furry friend.

#lifewithgibson

Friday, August 15, 2014

BLUE

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I am learning to love the skies I’m under…

Thursday, August 14, 2014

HANDS

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Today I went to the Grant County Fair with my dear friend Nani. These hand chairs were all over the place and they’ve always made me smile. Who wouldn’t want one of these things? My favorite was seeing a guy sitting in a ticket booth who looked all professional from the front, but was totally sitting in one of these chairs. It was like a mullet: business in the front, party in the back. Oh yeah!

It worked out good for today’s prompt to find this chair, but what I really wanted to share when I saw “hands” on the list, was my love of something else hand-related: sign language.

I learned sign language a few years ago and I think it is my favorite language. I love it even more than English due to its completely different way of expressing emotions and thoughts. It touches my heart like nothing else. I miss using my sign as I don’t have regular interaction with the deaf much anymore, but I had the opportunity to meet a deaf man yesterday while at a class for work and it all came flooding back to me…my love of the language and my desire to express myself with my hands and my face and my whole body, which is what ASL is.

I was glad for the reminder, the chance to communicate and remember the beauty of this language that I love.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

GUILTY PLEASURE

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My guilty (not so guilty) pleasure is taking selfies. Turning the camera on myself is something that I’ve always loved to do…even before they were called “selfies.”

I believe in the power of self portraiture. I believe in capturing the beauty of ourselves through our own eyes. I believe in taking a moment to see myself with love, even though it’s hard. I believe in searching out that friend of mine inside and letting her shine.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

ON THE TABLE

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Popcorn is my go-to snack right now. And I make it on the stovetop with the hand-crank popper my mum bought us recently. Then we like to add all sorts of different flavors. Garlic parmesan is my favorite.

Monday, August 11, 2014

HANDWRITING

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One of my current favorite quotes that I’m ruminating on and a little vignette of things I love.  What is one of your favorite quotes or a new one you’ve discovered? I’d love to hear it.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

DRINK

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Reviewing my Watchtower before the Sunday meeting drinking coffee. But its not just any coffee... I bought a big can of Tim Horton's coffee when I was in Canada last time so I could enjoy a cup of my favorite right at home. 

Tim Horton's coffee reminds me of being a teenager and living for late night visits to Timmy's in our PJ's and how my best friend Kelly could always tell if the coffee was fresh or not. It reminds me of learning to drive and gaining my independence. It reminds me of Canada and summers spent in that life with those people I love so much. 

It all feels like a lifetime ago...but just this morning while sipping on my cup of coffee it all came flooding back to me. I miss Kelly, and the large Double-Double's we used to get together. I wish life and distance didn't keep us so far apart. 

There is nothing better than a cup of coffee and special memories. 

Saturday, August 09, 2014

IN MY BAG

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In my bright pink JoTotes camera bad I carry :

  • my Canon 70D with my 85mm and 50mm lenses
  • my CAbi fall catalog, 
  • my pink, dollar store car charger
  • contact lens solution
  • a tampon
  • 2 pairs of sunglasses
  • 3 pens
  • my favorite chapstick, lip gloss and my new Sephora lipstick
  • a pair of earrings I've had for over a decade 
  • my wallet
  • the mouse for my MacBook Pro
  • a flashlight
  • my tablet with my JW Library app open and the campaign tract for this month
  • Not pictured: my iPhone, cuz its taking the picture

I’ve done a couple of these "In my bag" posts through the years… Here is one from 2012. I think its a  unique time capsule of life. What's in your bag? 

Friday, August 08, 2014

SELFIE

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He looked at me and said… “Life gets so muddled sometimes; so hard. But you don’t throw away the diamond. You dig through the coal and toss out the rubbish, but you keep the diamond…

“You are the diamond.”

Thursday, August 07, 2014

TODAY IS…

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…for chicken Caesar salad with my Mom’s dressing recipe. Its one of the things I’m really good at whipping up in the kitchen and one of my favorite things to eat. And my Mom said I could share the recipe today.

If you love really creamy, heavy on the garlic dressing, this recipe is for you!

Ingredients:

4 garlic cloves, peeled
1 cup oil (I prefer vegetable oil)
2 fake eggs (the generic ‘Egg Beaters’ work great)
salt & pepper
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
6 Tbsp. parmesan cheese

I use a food processor to mix my dressing, but you can use a blender, and if you’re halving the recipe, a magic bullet type mixer works too!

Start with the garlic and mix until fine. Add the oil and fake eggs and mix till well combined and starting to thicken. Add salt and pepper, enough so you can see the pepper throughout the dressing when you mix again and then add the lemon juice. Mix well. I usually use a spatula between adding ingredients around the edge to make sure everything is getting included. Then add half the parmesan cheese and mix until combined. Add the remaining cheese and let everything mix well for awhile. Then taste test (my favorite part)!

We add our dressing to Romaine lettuce with lots of black olives and sautéed chicken breast. One of our go-to meals. You can add croutons if you enjoy them too.

CaesarSalad

Feel free to give it a try and let me know if you enjoyed it. And if you’re not the biggest garlic fan, just use less. You’re going to love the texture of this dressing. Happy cooking!

Wednesday, August 06, 2014

REFLECTION

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This is what the Summer of 2014 looks like for me… 97 degree heat (that’s 36 Celsius for my my Canadian friends and family), iced coffee, tank tops and running errands in my little yellow VW Bug.

But there is a lot more to this summer than what meets the eye…

Its been a time of endurance. A time of allowing some things to bend for fear of my whole self breaking. A time of silence because its already all been said and if I have to talk about it all one more time you won’t like what I have to say.

I am struggling.

The walls that surround me call someone else their master, though the bill still comes to me. They laugh from their vaulted ceilings at me, chiding me… “Remember when you thought this was your dream home?” And they’re right. I used to feel safe here. I used to find sanctuary in this space. But now I try to take up as little room as possible. I’ve cocooned myself into my corner and await the release.

I hope its coming soon… it feels like it might be. There have been shifts and movements and someone else’s “dreams come true…” and I desperately hope things will fall into place and I will get some peace.

This year has eaten me alive…from the inside out. I have struggled to maintain my composure and to remain kind. I have always tried to do the kind thing. Its in my nature, and I like that part of myself. But what if it runs out? What if I’ve used a life’s worth of kindness on one situation? It feels like the tank is running dry.

Today was for reflection. I know that living in the past encourages depression and that worrying about the future causes anxiety. And there is no reward for worry.

So today I enjoyed my work day, took time to take a picture on purpose and took a moment to reflect on life right now. What it is today. Today I feel lost…and that’s okay. Lost means I’m still alive. Lost means I still feel.

Lost means I can be found again.

Tuesday, August 05, 2014

THREE

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These are my three current favorite things…

1) These are my brother, Micah’s sunglasses. I saw him for the first time in a year on Saturday and he gave them to me. We had a nice visit and I’m glad it worked out that we got to see each other. We lead such separate lives, but its nice to know we still enjoy just being together. I wish he didn’t live so far away.

2) These are little chocolates covered in famous artwork that my boss brought me back from her recent trip to Germany and the Netherlands. Pretty and tasty. It made my day that she thought of me while she was away and brought me back something she knew I would appreciate.

3) Sparkling Ice drinks…and this is my favorite flavor: coconut pineapple. Zero calorie flavored sparkling water drinks that don’t have aspartame. We love using them for mixed drinks too. This one is great with Malibu rum.

Monday, August 04, 2014

ORANGE

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So, what if, instead of thinking about solving your whole life, you just think about adding additional good things. One at a time. Just let your pile of good things grow. **

My pile of good things today included a good, stiff drink…that just happened to be orange.

Other good things added to my pile today include positive commendation from my boss on my very first iMovie, a Skype date with a good friend, puppy curling up on my lap, Family Worship and realizing that I ate something wrapped in a tortilla for every meal today.

GreyLine

What good things did you add to your pile today?

Sunday, August 03, 2014

WINDOW

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I think that this blog of mine has turned into quite a window itself...a window into my life. I have been blogging since 2005. That's almost a decade of my humanness shared online. Which kind of blows me away. On the one hand I think "I'm so glad I have all those stories and memories and feelings archived forever." But on the other hand I sometimes think, "My whole life is chronicled online. Is that a good thing?" 

I don't know, really. I mostly think that it is. 

Some people probably think that blogging is completely narcissistic. Blogging and taking selfies. Totally self-centered, right? But I don't agree. Some of my favorite types of books to read are true history and biography books. They capture a time in history, a time in someone's life, and share it in a relatable way that makes you feel connected to the people who lived back then. And I think that blogs will be the "true history" books of the future. Its my true history...my legacy. Maybe it's strange that anyone in the world can find it and read it, but I think that keeps me honest. I think it keeps me writing from a place of truth. There is so one special to impress with these words, but the act of writing them keeps me connected to the little everyday things that bring meaning to my life. 

I write for me. Maybe I'm the only one looking back through the window of this blog, but the introspection is healthy for me. I gain strength from looking back at what I've come from and I think its special to have a record of the lessons I've learned and the journey my heart has taken. 

This blog is a special window. I'm glad to be opening up and letting in a little breeze again...

Saturday, August 02, 2014

PATTERN

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There are many patterns I notice in my everyday life…mostly patterns of behavior. Mostly in myself. My dad would call them “tendencies” and he’d be right.

Lately my biggest negative pattern of behavior is my stress management. I turn to food. Because its familiar and it comforts me when I feel like I have no where else to turn. And not the good foods I’ve tried so hard to train myself to eat and enjoy. The bad-for-me foods… like Cool Ranch Doritos and chocolate chip cookies. Like coffee with flavor in it and lots of calories. Like whatever random craving I get.

This is a bad pattern, and a bad way to deal with my high stress levels. I know this. I need to get past feeling like a victim with no where to turn and create better coping mechanisms for myself.

I need to create new patterns.

Sharing has always been the first step for me. My catalyst. It holds me accountable and vocalizes things I’ve held inside for so long…for too long. So I’m sharing today.

GreyLine

Help me create new patterns!
What are some ways that you deal with stress?

Friday, August 01, 2014

August Break 2014

I’m jumping on this challenge for the month of August, using it to hopefully “break” back into blogging… I have missed sharing my words and feelings and experiences in this space. But so many times lately, life has gotten in the way. I’m always mini-blogging over on Instagram, but I want to get back here too. So I’m using this photo prompt challenge from Susannah Conway as a way to do it. I’m not sure how each day will turn out or if I’ll write each day, but at the very least I hope to take a picture to go with the prompt each day. Feel like playing along? Find out more about it here.

Today is August 1st and the prompt for today is “Lunch.”

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I shared a lovely lunch with my Canadian family in Penticton, BC today. I brought my littlest sister, Katrina home from a week-long visit with Chris and I and we all met up for lunch. I got a salmon avocado sandwich with fries. The waitress made a joke that I should just get them because it was “FRY-day.” And yes, I laughed. I’m an easy mark. We visited and enjoyed our food and some wine. It was a lovely lunch. I’m glad that Katrina came for a visit. We had a really nice time.